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All these danmei dudes with a red beauty spot below the corner of their eyes……..

All these bottoms surnamed Shen……..

All these shizuns who got bedded by their disciples……..

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I guess I should put it out here. I’ve ruminated a lot (a LOT) about the problematic nature of MXTX’s m|m and danmei in general.

The remaining blind spot here is just LGBT people living in China. They live in the closet, and I don’t know how they feel about danmei being perhaps one of the most booming ways a non-straight couple can be seen in art.

But as for western fans who go to extremes like calling Mo Xiang “homophobic” or “transphobic”…

Think a bit about where she’s from. Think about the level of censorship that happens in a place like China. That she writes about gay men – no matter how fetishy it may be (and that depends on the audience; again, westerners may find it so, but I have no idea how Chinese LGBT feel about it) – is an act of rebellion in and of itself.

In the west – especially North America and parts of western Europe – progress in general is a display. In China, it’s…not. It’s not loud and backed by the larger umbrella movement of LGBT with things like pride parades. It’s…quiet. It struggles to get together for LGBT film festivals without being shut down. It struggles to just be. Because anything that isn’t heterosexual has a strong social stigma, something that will get your parents to cry and ask, “How could you do this to us?” To really boil it down so the western perspective understands – the Confucian values that made Chinese society are the very thing that make it hard to see a gay couple as anything that isn’t unseemly, or vulgar, or unnatural.

That’s part of why the whole AO3 incident happened. If you write about an underage Yibo in a relationship with transgender Xiao Zhan out west, people don’t bat an eye as much because it’s encouraged to explore “transgressive” ideas; that’s why we tag that shit on AO3, because we can warn people who don’t like it while still exploring artistic freedom and the human psyche. And that’s why Chinese authors flocked to AO3 and wrote those fics to begin with – it fills a creative hole that’s much more suppressed in contemporary Chinese society. After it got shut down, Chinese authors were frantic, because they’d lost their safe space to explore ideas through creative writing.

So if we’re going to call Mo Xiang “homophobic” or “transphobic,” we shouldn’t hold it up to western standards. This was never meant for the western audience anyway – it trickled over, and even we (Chinese) were surprised. Is danmei fetishy? In western eyes, totally. In Chinese eyes? Yes, in the eyes of censorship law, which deems even two men briefly kissing as “vulgar” or “transgressive to society.” That Mo Xiang invests herself in these stories and these characters is going against the grain. It is her in a society where people lock themselves in the closet allowing gay men to even be. In a western sense, it may even be considered progressive.

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Mo Du, Can Ci Pin and Lie Huo Jiao Chou all are getting donghua and most likely might get manhua. At least Mo Du’s getting a manhua, but not sure when it’ll release.

Hope for the day for Sha Po Lang too. It’ll be a miracle.

Yeah, Sha Po Lang got an audio drama and yeah, a live action’s coming, but I want a donghua and manhua too. 

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